I’m going to keep this one brief because Wings of Bluestar (WoB) is just okay to me. I’ve felt utterly defeated trying to give this game chances after being marred by screen tearing and flickering, sudden frame drops, and otherwise run-of-the-mill gameplay. Being able to manually point your weapons was a cute addition, as well as some of the verticality some levels utilize, but the rest of the game is pretty average. There’s a story mode, but I was bored to tears and found myself skipping more often than not just to get things going. It’s probably the jaded anime fan in me that’s seen this all before, it’s functional at the very least. Controls are pretty tight, although some hit boxes can be a tad questionable especially during boss fights. For the most part, bosses are entertaining, multi-phase juggernauts a bit reminiscent of Cuphead in scale. All in all, a tad expensive for what it is, but could be fun. There’s not much content, but at least there are two characters that have their own story mode and gameplay.
WoB has a few different game modes: story, boss rush, and arcade Story mode has cutscenes reminiscent of a visual novel with a decent narrator delivering exposition. Characters themselves are surprisingly not voice acted, but the in-game announcer becomes very obnoxious as you pick up a bevy of upgrades that start to mean absolutely nothing aside from diehard score chasers. There’s a story to be had about rogue anime pilots fighting against corrupt AI in the future, but nothing you haven’t experienced before. It has more work put into it than most games of this budget, so I’ll give it that. Story mode is a basic feedback loop of level, cutscene with little to no player input or deviation, and repeat. You are mainly there to encounter the bosses and the increasing challenge. Difficulties are pretty well maintained, and the game is very flexible in terms of how rage-inducing you are willing to make your experience in terms of lives. For a story mode, it’s very misleading that you have to start the ENTIRE sequence over as soon as you lose credits. You can at least play with infinite credits, but I’d much rather just play through the whole game and be ranked by how many deaths I had during the whole game. The option is there, so no harm for the most part. That’s really about it. There’s no player progression to speak of, though level design does become more varied and visually interesting.
Boss Rush includes what’s advertised and doesn’t add any bells or whistles. I would say it encapsulates the best parts of this game in a nice package. At least boss fights will throw out powerups and items throughout the run, which helps maintain your power level. Arcade mode allows you to replay levels you have completed in Story Mode. This could allow you to practice perfected runs of levels, which can help you conserve lives if you are playing with only a few continues.
Overall, it’s nothing special, but also nothing offensive either. I enjoyed the art style for the most part, and when it works, the game is pretty responsive. Bosses and the Boss Rush were the highlight of the game. Color me unimpressed overall though because it’s more of what you always see.
Provided reviewer copy of game
Hellfirebam has not awarded Wings of Bluestar the Indie Seal of Approval